Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's End on a High Note; Residential Property Review of the Year 2007 the Year Has Had Its Ups and Downs, Challenges and Changes. but Homemaker Editor Karen Overbury Refuses to Believe the Gloomy Predictions of Some "Experts"

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's End on a High Note; Residential Property Review of the Year 2007 the Year Has Had Its Ups and Downs, Challenges and Changes. but Homemaker Editor Karen Overbury Refuses to Believe the Gloomy Predictions of Some "Experts"

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Overbury

THERE'S no doubt that 2007 has brought its challenges for those working in the residential property market.

But we knew that the market had been too strong for too long and that a return to "normal" times was inevitable - and probably desirable.

Of course, as soon as the market moved off its peak, the gloom and doom merchants immediately jumped in with memories of recessions, negative equity and repossessions.

Let's look at the winds that have battered the market. Interest rates have been rising - but to nowhere near the excessive rates of the late 1980s and 1990s.

And, only last week, the Bank of England stepped in with a 0.25% reduction. So the upward spiral has had an about-turn.

The crisis at the Northern Rock has, inevitably, caused uncertainty and sparked fears. Crisis, yes. But temporary as it is only a matter of time before a new buyer is found and the future of the business and the shareholders will be certain.

Home Information Packs have caused confusion and uncertainty. Folk in the property business knew they would - and warned the Government.

But the Government was keen to introduce the packs - which finally arrived in a very watered down form from the proposals first discussed many years ago.

And its staggering about-turns and moving of the goalposts time after time - and generally at the last minute - have not helped to instill confidence in the market.

But from tomorrow a Hip will be compulsory on every home put on the market so some uncertainty will disappear.

Prices have been rising too quickly and too sharply over the past few years. A certain level of inflation is desirable, but there is no doubt that a steadying of the market has been needed to help first-time buyers and those wanting to take a further step up the ladder.

And when you read the reports, they talk of house price inflation going down. That's the rate of inflation - not the prices.

There is little, if any, sign of prices actually falling. And, let's face it, the figures which are thrown at us are national figures, covering the whole of the country. The North-East's proportion of the market is small and very different compared to most areas. …

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